In Tokyo, there is subculture called Otaku. Otaku are people who have an obsession about something in particular, usually anime or manga. Two kinds of Japanese cartoons or comics.
The Otaku subculture has also brought about another Tokyo phenomenon, the Maid Cafe.
The Maid Cafe, as the name suggests is a cafe that serves normal cafe type food but you are served by young women in French maid-like costumes. It is quite a surreal experience and if you are ever in Tokyo I suggest to at least go once.
There are things around the world that you should at least go to once. When you are in Amsterdam, you should go to the 'coffee shop' once. When you are in Bangkok you should go to a 'bar.' When you are in Palmerston North, you should go to .... ummm, Awapuni?
And, when you are in Tokyo, this is one place to check out.
A few years ago, my cousin came to visit me in Tokyo and we did a bit of sightseeing. I remember we went to Shinjuku, we went to Tsukiji and went to Disneyland. (We saw Reuben Thorne there too. New Zealanders will know who I am talking about.)
The highlight for me anyway was going to Akihabara and going to a maid cafe.
I had heard of them and I was keen to check them out and my cousin being in Tokyo proved the perfect excuse.
We got off the train at Akihabara Station and I must admit I didn't know where to start but fortunately there was a little stall where they had information about the various cafes in the area and we were directed to one of the best ones and more importantly they could communicate in English.
The first thing we noticed was that we weren't the only foreigners in the place. We also noticed that even though it was a Wednesday afternoon it was quite busy.
Anyway we were greeted with the phrase, "Welcome Home Master." This is basically a translation of "Okareinasemase Goshujinsama."
We were offered something to drink. I chose ginger ale and my cousin selected coca cola. (Yes I know, we aren't that adventurous.)
When we had our drink delivered we were told to make the drink taste better we should say "Moe Moe Kyuu." Even today, I still don't know what that means. I do know that my ginger ale that day tasted really great. The best ginger ale I had ever tasted. I'm not kidding.
It was obvious when we were there that there were may people like us who were there just for the experience and there were people who were obviously regulars. They knew all the moves to the games that they played and were very "polished" in the art of the game.
Now, years later I think to myself is the Maid Cafe an introvert's home away from home? Is the Maid Cafe a place where an introvert can get away from it all and be him or herself while having some human contact?
It's an interesting question, isn't it?